Alabama GOP leader says ‘religious freedom’ bills targeting gays likely dead

Alabama GOP leader says ‘religious freedom’ bills targeting gays likely dead


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Republican leader of the Alabama Senate said Thursday that he believes religious freedom bills that target gays and lesbians are likely dead for the legislative session.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh said Thursday that he did not think the issues would get a floor vote.

One House-passed bill would give legal protections to probate judges who refuse to marry gay couples. Another that has cleared House committee would give protections to church-affiliated adoption agencies and children’s homes that refuse to let gay couples adopt.

“What I do not want to do is give a perception Alabama is attacking any group. … We are a very conservative state, I understand that, but I don’t want to give any perception that we’re attacking anyone,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the bills would be bad for state’s image as it attempts to recruit companies. Marsh said he believes lawmakers will be concentrating on the budget and other issues for the remainder of the session.

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Lawmakers in a number of conservative states introduced religious freedom bills this year, anticipating a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that could legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

Indiana drew a backlash over a religious freedom bill that critics said would allow businesses to refuse services to gays and lesbians.

However, the Alabama Senate has approved one bill that was brought in reaction to the legalization of gay marriage. Senators approved a bill that would do away with state-issued marriage licenses. The bill is now before the House of Representatives.

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